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New national standards for family court experts

|Practice Directions|Family

Changes to the family court rules mean only qualified, experienced and recognised professionals will be able to give evidence as expert witnesses in family proceedings relating to children. This change follows the new laws implemented in April which mean expert evidence will now only be commissioned where a judge considers it necessary to resolve a case justly.

The standards include making sure that the expert:

  • has knowledge appropriate to the court case,
  • has been active in the area of work or practice and has sufficient experience of the issues relevant to the case,
  • is either regulated or accredited to a registered body where this is appropriate,
  • has relevant qualifications and has received appropriate training, and
  • complies with safeguarding requirements.

The standards were developed in partnership with the Family Justice Council. These changes form part of wide-ranging work to make sure delays in courts are minimised so that children and young people do not face unnecessary uncertainty.